Using Degree Planner

The Degree Planner in your my.SMU Student Dashboard is a powerful tool that can provide you with a personalized, pre-populated degree plan to help on your journey to graduation. This degree path provides a sequence of courses that will fulfill your degree requirements, and can be adjusted regularly to fit your future plans.

Please Note: The Degree Planner is a student planning tool and should not be relied upon for graduation purposes. You must check your Degree Progress Report regularly. You should plan to update your degree plan each semester because course offerings will change.

Easy to Plan

Degree Planner automatically updates your plan based on your academic progress. It recognizes factors like prerequisites and terms typically offered. You are able to view required courses in a clearly organized list to more easily navigate your path to graduation.

Improved Registration Experience

Keeping an eye on your Degree Planner makes registration easy! Planned courses are automatically imported into your Schedule Builder to take the guesswork out of choosing courses for your degree and selecting course sections that fit your busy schedule.

Better Course Availability

The Degree Planner system provides critical information to SMU on course demand, allowing us to provide more sections of in-demand courses, which increases your odds of getting exactly the classes you want, when you want them.

Help & Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

You will access your Degree Planner via your Student Dashboard. Degree Planner is located within the Academics section of the left-hand sidebar. When accessing the Degree Planner, a prompt for a tutorial will appear at the top of the screen. This can be helpful to explain the different sections of the Degree Planner.
A student’s degree plan is considered complete when they have no more unplanned requirements at the top of their degree plan and each requirement has a specific course chosen for it. In addition, be sure that any Options, such as Exploring Science, have been chosen. Options will also appear at the top of a student’s plan, but students must first select their desired option before they can assign it a course and term.


When you get ready to enroll at SMU as a Pre-Major, you will receive a message that Degree Planner is not available to you at this time, until you enroll in 1 class. After enrolling in 1 class, you will see a Degree Plan that corresponds to your academic plan in my.SMU. All Pre-Majors have the Common Curriculum outlined in 4 semesters except for the Pre-Major plans with additional courses in your DPR.

Pre-Major students can choose CC courses and add introductory courses from your potential major program to populate your Degree Plan.
The most significant benefit of Degree Planner for Pre-Majors is the ability to create a "What If" Degree Plan that will give students options for your future academic career. You can choose a double major and add minors (when minors are available in the system). Students can create a large number of What If degree plans and those plans will be purged every 30 days.

Declaring a Major and Building a Degree Plan

After you declare your major, the new Degree Plan will populate. Any unfulfilled CC requirements remain and courses identified for your major will populate. If your plan has Unplanned requirements, you can add them to the term that you will take the course(s) and the Degree Plan will be saved. Staff can work with students by meeting with them or providing resources on how to populate the initial degree plan. After the initial plan is built, there should be a conversation between student and advisor to check the plan each term.

Editing a Degree Plan Each Term

After the initial degree plan has been built, the advisor and student should discuss the upcoming term and make changes to the degree plan as needed. If you need to add another Major or Minor, follow the campus process to make major and minor changes so the degree plan is reflective of the new degree plan.

Adding a new Major/Minor and the impact on Degree Planner

When a student adds a new Major or Minor to Degree Planner, unplanned requirements could reappear. You should check your degree plan after making those changes so that any past work is retained and is on the plan in line with your graduation expectations.


The verify button is currently a placeholder for a function that will be available in the future. Please disregard it for the time being.

Degree Planner paths use the requirement data from the Degree Progress Report (DPR) to create a more interactive planning tool. Degree Planner is most useful for new students (freshmen and transfers) and for recently declared students to understand and visualize the time and term schedules needed to graduate in a given amount of time. These paths may also have pre-programed suggestions for courses and requirement order that are based on department input and general student outcomes. Degree Planner is also useful to students who make changes to your schedules and/or academic plans. DPRs are the authoritative source for completion of graduation requirements at SMU and to validate what requirements you still must complete to graduate.

If you previously failed or withdrew from a course, find the course/requirement within the plan, and select the exact same course you previously took for the same requirement. If credit was not received during the first unsuccessful attempt, Degree Planner will recognize that this course needs to be repeated.

If you think you might not pass a course in your current semester and want to plan for it in a future term, add the future course as an Elective to serve as a placeholder until grades post. If you do not pass, then add the course under the proper requirement and delete the course previously added as an Elective. If you pass the class, delete the Elective course that was added in the future term.

If you attempt to repeat a course for which you have already received credit, Degree Planner will give you a warning about the repeated course. Keep in mind that under the university’s Grade Replacement Repeat policy, only courses for which you have received a D+ or lower can be repeated for a better grade. Please familiarize yourself with the policy using the link below.

If a student plans to Study Abroad for a Fall or Spring term, they should plan for 15 hour units. Students should use the Study Abroad website to identify the courses and requirements that they want to fulfill in the Study Abroad program and put them into the designated term. Since Degree Planner can adjust requirements, students can keep adjusting their Abroad term requirements as they learn more about their academic plan abroad. Students can also use the courses FESA 1000, FESA 2000, FESA 3000, or FESA 4000 to fill out a 15 hour schedule.

Students should continue to work with their Academic Advisor, College/School Records Office and the Study Abroad Office to finalize and continue degree planning.

Degree Planner is pulling your academic grade information, any changes to your credits, your updated DPR, and the active degree plan. It’s takes a minute to consolidate all of that information to display.
If you have Fall or Spring term without any courses listed, that means that you have fulfilled the requirements for your current academic plan (majors/minors/Common Curriculum). However, if you have not fulfilled the 120 hours to graduate, you should plan on free electives for terms until you meet that 120-hour requirement. This might also be a good indication that you could add a minor to your program if you are interested in another area.

Intersession and summer terms were not automatically configured in Degree Planner.

Logistic Questions:

If you put a course into your plan and you haven’t met the prerequisite, it will give you a message that you haven’t met the prerequisite. Remember that leaving a course in a term does not give you permission to enroll in the course, especially if you have not met the prerequisite or you do not meet other criteria for the course.

If you see a term where there are 5 courses identified but the top graphic shows that you have 1/5 courses and 3/15 credits in the circle graphic, that means that you have not chosen a course for an identified elective or Common Curriculum requirement. Once you identify a course for that requirement, the circle graphic will change. Your goal is to identify all of the courses and units identified in that term. If you think you might reduce or increase the load for that term, increase/decrease your Mass Units and the graphic will change with your adjustment.

Once your degree plan is populated, the courses will display the padlock as Unlocked. If you move the course around, the requirements will adjust if the course meets multiple requirements. The system does this because as semesters and programs change, the system might not have the exact information to display in a future semester.

If you are certain that you would like certain courses in a designated semester, you can Lock the courses (see Lock/Unlock) to be sure that the courses remain where you want them.

Courses can be easily moved from one term to another.

  1. Click and drag the desired course to the desired new term. There may be a brief loading time as the system recalculates the plan.
  2. If a course is locked (has a closed padlock icon), it will need to be Unlocked (click on the padlock) before it can be moved. Once the course is unlocked, it moves to the Unplanned courses section. Go to the Unplanned courses, click on the course and move it to the new term.
  3. Note: Adjusting your course load after it is locked requires you to manually move the requirement first.

Planning Courses:

Degree Planner defaults to add non-honors courses to the degree plan. Students who will be part of Distinction, Honors or another special groups can plan for those programs through course selection. As an example, Hilltop and Honors students take a different course than WRTR 1313, which is the recommend course for WRTR. In this example, the advisor will tell you to Deselect the recommended WRTR course and put the appropriate WRTR course in your degree plan. Students not allowed to take the Hilltop or Honors course for WRTR cannot enroll in those courses but students who are in the appropriate student group can take them. Likewise, if you can plan for Honors/Distinction electives or special sections in your plan. Choose your course or section as appropriate. (see Selecting Courses and Planning Electives above). Please note that planning for these courses does not give you permission to enroll in the courses.

If the selected course is not currently being offered in the term selected, a notification appears prompting you to select a different course or move the selection to a term when the course is offered.

Departments forecast when courses will be offered. The data is stored in Degree Planner and enforced by the system (Degree Planner will warn your if you are planning a course in a term it is not typically offered).

View course details to check when a course is offered. To find course details:

  1. Click on the "Select Course" option on your landing page, or open the term, and click the "Select a course" option.
  2. Click on the carrot to the left of the course name to open the course details.

The terms typically offered are visible under the "Offered" subheading:

A screenshot of the semesters offered for a course in Degree Planner.

Sometimes departments offer courses during different terms than you intended. If you are certain that a course will be offered in a term that contradicts the Offered information, you can move the course to your desired term and lock it. When you move the course, Degree Planner will still warn you that the course is not typically offered in that term.

These semesters are not automatically configured in Degree Planner and are set at 0 hours. Students will need to increase the Max Units for these terms before adding courses into them. Degree Planner has been configured by default for Fall and Spring terms. However, as you decide to take a Jan term, May term, or Summer school course, you can move the requirement into the appropriate term. If a course is not designated for this term, you will get a warning message. Once the schedule is available for that term, you can enroll in the course designated in term if it is offered. Another option for course searching is to choose the requirement that you want to fulfill and filter (Taos, Jan Term, May Term) for those courses in the Offered field.

Sometimes you will want to plan a course to satisfy multiple requirements for graduation (CC/Major/Minor). CC requirements will be anticipated by Degree Planner and handled appropriately (duplicate requirements will be removed from your plan). Once you enroll in the course, the multiple requirements will appear with the course within Degree Planner.

However, you will need to anticipate unofficial situations where a course may meet multiple requirements and, therefore, appear as a duplicate in your plan.
In the event that you will use a course for multiple requirements, you should plan the course once. If the course is needed as a prerequisite for the major, you should choose to plan the major course. The other duplicate requirements that contain that course should be moved to "Unplanned Requirements."

To move a requirement to "Unplanned Requirements," find the requirement you wish to remove, select the three dots, and choose "Remove":

The system will caution your that there could be unintended consequences. For instance, if the removed course is a prerequisite for subsequent courses, multiple planned courses may move. This is the warning:

A screenshot of the remove requirement dialog in Degree Planner.

The duplicate requirement will then be locked in "Unplanned Requirements":

An example of a locked course in the Unplanned Requirements section in Degree Planner.

If you are interested in a Pre-Health curriculum or any other program that does not have a DPR assigned to it, you can directly add the additional courses as electives to your academic plan. This might require you to adjust the Max Units for a term so that you can fit courses into your schedule. Students are unable to add above 18 hours without an override.
Degree Planner enforces prerequisites based on requirement lines in the Degree Progress Report (DPR). You can progress to a subsequent requirement (versus course) once it is met. Therefore, once a substitution is fully processed and the requirement is met, Degree Planner will plan subsequent requirements that are dependent on that requirement prerequisite.

It is possible to remove a required prerequisite course from the plan if you know it will be substituted (see "Remove Course"). However, removing a course can result in problems with planning subsequent courses, so it may not be the most favorable option.

If you put a course into your plan and you haven’t met the prerequisite, it will give you a message that you haven’t met the prerequisite. Remember that leaving a course in a term does not give you permission to enroll in the course, especially if you have not met the prerequisite or you do not meet other criteria for the course.
Each semester section has an Add An Elective Course button at the bottom. Clicking this button displays a search window similar to when you click the Select/Edit Course buttons in the other rows of the semester.
The course set up in my.SMU required Degree Planner to set up the Breadth-Exploring Science requirement differently than the other Breadth courses. As a result, when you need to fulfill the Exploring Science requirement, it will appear in the Unplanned Requirements section of Degree Planner. When your click on Select Option, a menu of the lecture and lab science courses appear and at the bottom of the list is the choice Exploring Science, which includes the other courses which fulfill the Exploring Science requirement. When you choose an option by clicking Select, you go back to Degree Planner, click Open and choose the Term to take the course. Once the requirement is in a term, you can choose a course from the Exploring Science Course list.

The Second Language Common Curriculum requirement requires you to be proficient in the second level of a language. Therefore, it is being coded into Degree Planner for term 2 of your SMU experience. This is how you will see Second Language in Degree Planner.

  1. For those students who test out of the second level of a language, the Second Language requirement will not display to the student once it is recorded in my.SMU as fulfilled.
  2. For students who test into the second level of the language, the student can move the Second Language requirement to their preferred term (Term 1 or beyond).
  3. For students who need to start at the first level of the language, you will need to add an elective for the first semester of the language course. When you do that, the course will have a dash in the Requirement column to indicate that this course does not fulfill a designated requirement. You can choose your second level of a language to fulfill the Second Language requirement in your preferred term.

Place the requirement in a term of your choosing. Select a course that would satisfy the requirement if the petition is denied. Click the three buttons to the right of the course. Select Note. Add a note: “Planning to petition course”

What Ifs:

If a student drops or fails a course, Degree Planner will adjust. If this course meets a requirement, the requirement will remain in your list of requirements until it is fulfilled. If the course is a pre-requisite for another course, the courses will move and adjust. If Degree Planner reaches your Expected Graduation, the courses at the end of the program will show in the Unplanned section. You and your advisor will need to place the courses into terms where there might units available or recognize additional time needed, when applicable (summers, intersessions, terms). Once your Expected Graduation is changed, the courses can be placed in the new terms.
If you have not met the 120-hour requirement to graduate, you might be able to finish your degree requirements before your last semester but you need to also plan on meeting the hour requirement (120 hours for most degrees) as well as the 2.0 GPA requirement, although those requirements are not noted in Degree Planner. However, they are part of your DPR, which is still the authoritative source for meeting your graduation requirements.
If you need to take a Leave of Absence from SMU, you can continue to plan your academic career by changing your Max Units for the term to 0 (zero). Degree Planner will make the adjustments to the classes. You will also need to adjust other classes as needed.
Recommended courses are recommended. All of the courses which fulfill that requirement will show in your course list. Deselect the recommended course and Select the course that meets your needs and also fulfills the requirement.

Meet with your advisor to update your graduation term.

Meet with your advisor to update your major/minor.